By Dale Woodard on January 14, 2022.
It was a big two points for the Lethbridge Hurricanes Wednesday.
Tonight, they’ll go for two more big points, against an opponent they’re tied with in the standings, no less.
A simple analysis, for sure, but one that applies as the Canes continue their push up the Eastern Conference standings when they host the Prince Albert Raiders in Western Hockey League action tonight at 7 p.m. at the Enmax Centre.
Thanks to the Hurricanes’ 3-2 overtime win over the Swift Current Broncos Wednesday night at the Enmax Centre – highlighted by rookie forward Logan Wormald’s two-goal night, including the OT winner – Lethbridge pulled to an even 13-13-2-0 and into a tie with the Raiders (13-17-1-1) and the Regina Pats (14-17-0-0) for ninth place in the East.
It also puts them three points back of the 13-15-4-1 Broncos, who hold down eighth place in the East.
So with three games in as many days on the slate as the Hurricanes head to Medicine Hat Saturday night to take on the Tigers before returning to the Enmax Centre Sunday to host the Edmonton Oil Kings, more big points are up for grabs.
“It’s a pretty important time of year to get some points. We have some games in hand in order to get back in the race and get back into that playoff spot,” said Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio after practice Thursday morning. “I think (Wednesday) night we played a solid game. We didn’t give up a lot of chances against and we had a lot of chances. Swift Current has played us hard all year. They found a way to tie it up late and I was really proud of our guys to respond in overtime.”
Those overtime heroics were supplied by Wormald, who opened the scoring in the first period and then hit a pair of posts the rest of the way before burying the game-winner on the power play with three seconds left in the five-minute extra session.
“Wheats (Chase Wheatcroft) passed it to me just above the circle,” said Wormald. “I hit the crossbar and I knew I had to redeem myself. Luckily, Klavy (Yegor Klavdiev) got it to me again and I got a good one-timer.”
That, of course, earned the Hurricanes that big, extra point.
“They were super-big, for sure,” said Wormald. “The last two games against Swift Current haven’t gone so well. We stuck to the plan, played our hardest and we just have to keep it going this weekend.”
Wormald’s goals were his sixth and seventh this season.
The five-foot-nine, 150-pound forward from Langley, B.C. who the Hurricanes selected in the third round and 45th overall in the 2020 WHL bantam draft now has 15 points in 20 games.
“For a young kid to come out like that, he scores two goals, and I think it was two crossbars,” said Kisio of the 16-year-old. “He just keeps getting better and better. He’s been an impact on our team every night.”
Wednesday’s game was the Hurricanes first since Dec. 28 and the first since the team was put on pause New Year’s Day as part of the WHL COVID-19 protocol with 14 players either showing symptoms or testing positive for the virus.
The team was cleared to return to activities last week, but had four games postponed as a result of the pause.
“I thought it was a pretty solid effort,” said Kisio of the first game back.
“We played everyone. We play a lot of hockey in the second half, so everyone is going to have to play. I thought our cardio and conditioning is going to have to come up a bit, but there’s a lot going on. We haven’t had a lot of practice with the things that have been going on. So we’ll get better and better that way, but I thought the guys played as hard as they could and did a good job.”
Wednesday’s game also marked the debut of Hayden Smith, Liekit Reichle, Tyson Laventure and Ross Stanley.
“We think we’re a deeper club now,” said Kisio. “We think we have the opportunity to play all four lines now and everyone can contribute. I think Stanley coming in on the back end did a great job. So we’re really happy with the new guys coming in. We think they add a lot of depth to our team.
On Thursday, the Hurricanes announced alumni Mark Greig and Kevin St. Jacques will be the 2022 inductees to the Hurricanes Wall of Honour.
The duo will be inducted on Feb. 4 when the Hurricanes host the Regina Pats at the Enmax Centre.
Greig, the father of current Brandon Wheat Kings forward and Ottawa Senators prospect and first-round draft pick Ridly, was an original Hurricane in 1987 playing through until 1990.
Greig was a two-time 100-point scorer and sits 15th all-time in franchise goals (100), sixth all-time in franchise assists (170) and is ninth all-time in points (270). He is one of eight players in Hurricanes history to record 100-plus points in a single season twice. He is one of nine players in team history to score 50-plus goals in a single season while being one of four players to accomplish the feat twice.
St. Jacques was originally acquired by the Hurricanes from the Spokane Chiefs during the 1988-89 season. The Edmonton product played 234 regular season games with the Hurricanes over parts of four seasons where he scored 300 career points (139 goals and 161 assists) while adding an additional 44 points (23 goals and 21 assists) in 45 career postseason games.
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